Little Miss Juliet Noell Lynch had a big smile.
“She was an amazing girl,” said her 19-year-old sister, Destiny Lynch, at Juliet’s funeral Saturday afternoon.
Juliet’s short life ended tragically last weekend when the 7-year-old was killed by a shot from a rifle that authorities say was fired accidentally by another child during a weekend birthday party.
On Saturday, Juliet was remembered at Turner Memorial A.M.E. Church in West Columbia as a child who enjoyed things most little girls do, but with her own spunk.
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She loved to sing, dance and “whip her hair back and forth,” said the Rev. Darrell Bryant. She enjoyed hip hop music and was an honor student who loved school. She also loved soda – especially Coca Cola, Bryant said. She enjoyed going to the park and always wanted money, he said, even if it was just a few dollars.
And everyone knew Juliet’s signature grin.
“I think she could get anything she wanted with that smile,” said the Rev. Kenneth C. Taylor.
Juliet sometimes told corny, funny jokes, and she had a good heart, her sister remembered.
But Juliet’s cheerful life was cut short by tragedy.
According to Lexington County Sheriff’s Department deputies:
• On April 12, a 5-year-old boy accidentally discharged a rifle stored in the trunk of a vehicle parked at a neighbor’s home in the 200 block of Wild Bird Lane near Gaston. Fragments from the bullet hit Juliet in her chest as she played nearby.
• The shooting occurred when the mother of the boy who fired the rifle unlocked a car’s trunk so he could retrieve a toy pistol. Instead, he unintentionally grabbed the rifle, and it fired through the right rear of the car.
• Another 5-year-old boy playing with the slain girl is recovering from wounds in his right forearm.
• The boy’s mother said she didn’t know the loaded rifle was there. The weapon and car belonged to a boyfriend of the mother. He was unaware she was going to the car, and no one else knew about the rifle.
• The man’s possession of the weapon is permissible under state standards. U.S. Alcohol, Firearms and Tobacco agents have been asked to review his eligibility to own a weapon under federal standards.
During the funeral service, adults sang the hymn children often learn by heart.
“Jesus loves me, this I know,” they sang. “For the Bible tells me so.”
Mourners cried and grieved over the small, white coffin at the front of the church.
Both pastors comforted the congregation with promises of God’s love and salvation.
The church was packed by those who loved the little girl, and whom she loved in return, including friends and family.
Juliet, who had nine siblings, loved her family, Bryant said. She used to do everything with her twin sister, Isbella, he said.
She also adored her mother, to whom the little girl would say:
“I love you to heaven and back.”